James Rollins – I am not sure how I feel about James Rollins books. So far I have read 22 of his books and even though I like them I am still waiting for the “whoa” moment, where I could say that book was unbelievable and be able to tell my friends to read it and be sure they will not be disappointed.
Rollins was a veterinarian who gave up his practice and now writes action/adventure and thriller novels. Of course everyone knows the Indiana Jones books the Kingdom and the Crystal Skull that Rollins wrote and were then turned into the famous movies, by George Lucas and directed by Steven Spielberg, but Rollins wrote over 30 other books. I started with the SIGMA Force series, where highly intelligent, ex-military people are put thru intense scientific training (in different disciplines), and then they use the combination of their skills to fight terrorist who are testing the safety of our nation and the world. I like books that are entire science–fiction or books that are fiction but I am able to imagine that the event in the book could actually happen ( and I have a BIG imagination!!) Rollins is kind of in the middle. His books have some history facts, some myths, and lots of technology, sometimes I find is bit too much , and it confuses me and sometimes I feel like they are unnecessary additions to the story ( but I really like when the author at the end of his books separates the facts from fiction). Rollins builds good, well define characters like commander Gray Pierce, (the main character) Monk, ( solder / scientist) and Kowalski ( “muscle guy”). I am little bit confused by the love connection between Gray and Seichan, an assassin who tried to kill Gray – well either Gray is a better man then I am or Seichan is really hot!! My least favorite part of this series is the Vatican connection. Seems like many writers are trying to copy “The Da Vinci Code” and Rollins may be jumping on the same bandwagon. I understand that the Vatican angle is critical to the story, but I think it is over done with too many descriptions and explanations. However, overall I enjoyed the Sigma series, I know I was little critical but as a action /thriller books they are fun to read, typically the beginning of the books and then ends are very good, the middle could be bit shorter but I am still waiting to read the newest book of the series “The 6th Extinction”.
“6th Extinction” – “The Sigma Force” series is gradually getting worse. The first books were, good, innovative and kept me interested. “The 6th extinction” is the worst book in the series.
Rambo is meeting Jurassic Park. This book could be great. The idea of genetic research in the hands of crazy scientists has lots of potential, but unfortunately Rollins fell very short of the “greatness”. He created that crazy fictional world, living under our feet, the word no-one know about – it was hard to take in. The boiler plate novel was very predictable, tons of unnecessary characters, the scenes are way too long. There are lots of confusing (and undermining the reader intelligence) moments. for example: The world is on the brink of extinction and the US Government finally know where to strike , so they sent four Marines and a Sigma Director Painter to fight the army of bad guys- really!!? And, the scientists know they are dealing with some kinds of microorganism that is very contagious and they take every precaution handling the specimen ( like wearing bio-hazmat suits), but ( not to give away any spoilers) , Lisa needs to make a MRI scan for a patient , she takes off the protective suit to help the patient get on the MRI table and walks around the room waiting for the scan- makes no sense to me. Also the reading is very choppy, switches from one story line to the others in the middle of the action – this does not work for me at all. Overall not very good book.
The other series by Rollins I read is the Sanguines series. I like these two books: “Blood Gospel”, and “Innocent Blood”. For years I was never interested reading about Vampires and Demons but after reading some book by Kelley Armstrong I wanted to find something else in this subject, so I reached out for the Senguines series. In contrast to the SIGMA series, it is complete fiction, so reading it with this mind set I can truthfully enjoy it. These novels are about a brilliant archeologist Dr Erin Granger, a tough, smart soldier sergeant Jordan Stone, and a Priest Father Rhun Korza who are fighting the dark forces that are intending on taking over the world. These novels are fast moving action novels with surprising details, with lots of Christianity motives that may or may not be true ( e.g. the role of Christs Blood and why priest drink holy wine) and I promise they will keep you interested and wanting more!. Rolling offers some freedom of thinking, so the reader can come up with its own conclusions. I hope the author will write more books of the Sanguines series, I definitely looking forward reading more about Erin, Stone and Korza.
Other books by Rollins I would recommend are:
“Amazonia” – a great book about an expedition into a rain forest, where the scientists and soldiers are trying to discover the truth about disappearance of a CIA agent and a mysterious power of healing ( e.g. ability to grow a missing arm) hidden deep in Amazonian rain forest.
“Altar of Eden” – maybe my favorite book by Rollins. As a veterinarian the author used some if his knowledge while writing this novel. The book is about veterinarian Lorna Polk and a U.S. Border Patrol Agent, Jack Menard who are trying to hunt down genetically, mutated animals that escaped from a lab and at the same time discover the reason of those mutation and try to stop it from spreading. This is a great book for anyone who enjoys fiction with hint of reality, fun to read and if you do some research about the subject of this novel, you may be surprised about how close the modern scientists are to making the book very realistic!!